Why Isn’t Cannabis Being Prescribed for COVID Long Haulers? 

There’s an old “medical” joke — although I doubt if many doctors ever told it — “The operation was a success, but the patient died.” However, I would like to suggest a new version that the medical profession should try: “The medicine worked, but the patients suffered and/or died because the medical profession wouldn’t consider it.”

The good news is that, as scientists learn more about COVID-19 and how to treat it, the mortality rate seems to be falling. The bad news is that many patients continue to suffer for weeks or months after they have tested negative and have supposedly “recovered.”

Forbes reports: Many COVID-19 Survivors Suffer Months Of Post-Viral Symptoms: Tough New Realities — And A Personal Journey.

The Forbes article also cites an article from JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association: “Research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that looked at 143 patients from Italy who had been hospitalized with COVID-19 and survived. A study found that four in five of them were still reporting symptoms; at that time, two months later.”

It is certainly frustrating that the medical profession is still so resistant to looking at cannabis as a possible treatment for COVID-19. I have written about this several times.

See: COVID-19, AIDS AND THE SUPPRESSION OF MEDICAL CANNABIS

And: How THC May Treat Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, A Major Cause of Death In COVID Patients

And the problem, like the pandemic, is global.

See: Open Letter to the United Nations: Ensuring Continued Medical Cannabis Access During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Moreover, while “palliative care” is primarily about relieving suffering, some symptoms can be so severe that they not only destroy the patients’ quality of life, they can also undermine the patients’ health. For example, nausea and loss of appetite can weaken the patients’ immune system, and leave them vulnerable to other diseases. AIDS gave a brutal demonstration of that problem. Unfortunately, “recovering” COVID patients have no way of knowing how long it will take them to get back to normal, if they ever will. Consequently, it may really be “chronic.”

A study reported in Health Affairs found, “Chronic pain is currently and historically the most common qualifying condition reported by medical cannabis patients (64.5 percent in 2016). Of all patient-reported qualifying conditions in 2016, 84.6 percent had either substantial or conclusive evidence of therapeutic efficacy.”

Because so many of the recovering patients may still have respiratory problems, smoking cannabis would seem unwise, but there are many alternatives. While the vape from “Vape pens” still tends to be very hot, patients might want to try true vaporized cannabis, which “toasts” but does not burn the “bud,” so there is no smoke or particulate, and the “vapor” has been cooled in a bag.

Otherwise, there are the usual alternatives, edibles, tinctures, etc. and CBD products, that are easily available almost everywhere.

Paging Dr. Feelgood? In any case, given the well-established history of cannabis being used to “feel better,” it seems rather odd that there are minimal references to its use for post COVID symptoms found in a Google search.

However, as noted, the most common use of medical cannabis is “chronic pain” and no one is claiming that it is being “cured” by cannabis, so it would seem to be less threatening to the gatekeepers who control our lives, for our own good, of course.

Nonetheless, a guest column in the Telegraph, the conservative British paper, by a chronic pain patient (long term pain from a seriously broken leg) complained, “Why is the NHS still refusing to prescribe medicinal cannabis? It’s cheap and effective, yet patients are having to seek private or illegal means to get cannabis,” writes a chronic pain sufferer.

Unfortunately, we are still many months away from having either a vaccine or effective treatments for COVID-19 so we are going to have ever-increasing numbers of “Long Haul” survivors whose health and well-being will be severely damaged by the longer term consequences of the virus.

It really would not be a “miracle cure” if it turned out that cannabinoids could ‘cure” COVID.

However, it would be a miracle if they looked.

See: The FDA and Me: Medical Cannabis and Regulatory Capture

In fact, if medical marijuana raised the dead, NIDA would simply issue a press release warning about the Zombie Apocalypse.

Richard Cowan is a former NORML National Director and is the author of Can CBD Help with Aging Skin, Acne and Other Skin Issues?

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